Last weekend, I went to see an apartment in Sillemstraße. A nice apartment, a lovely quarter called Eimsbüttel and most importantly, the same street that my friend Linus lived in. I like to be in places where I can feel close to Linus. If you know the pleasant company of Linus, you understand why.
Curiously enough, I already work in the same building he used to work in as a student, so I saw it as fate that I looked at the apartment in his street. I did of course not get the apartment because everyone wants to live there. But as I was walking around there with my parents, we found fika! The café is called Osterdeich and has a light atmosphere that reminds me of Sweden but then again not. The very nice interieur has a lot of cool details like the writing on the wall, the beautiful candle holders (that for some reason I think look so Danish), the picture gallery of German soccer players that leads the way to the room where you can watch soccer matches.
Because I thought it was so nice, I took my friend Anja there exactly a week later and tested another of their cakes. The cakes are homemade, I believe, and so far very tasty. We also thought that the prices were very reasonable, actually Anja wondered how you can survive on selling sandwiches for 1, 20 euro. I really wish I could live around there so that I could go there all the time and eat their sandwiches that are called after Beatles-songs (if I understood correctly).
So if you want to feel close to Linus – or just enjoy nice fika, go to Osterdeich. Preferably with me.
Sometimes I wonder when my weekends will start to be weekends, meaning free time. Probably not until I found an apartment and a proper job. This weekend has consisted of only duties – even if the Sunday duty, singing at church, was pleasant. There was even waffles afterwards which made me especially happy. Not only because I literally have no food at home (which is both a sign that I still have not internalized that shops are closed on German sundays and that I don’t have any time/menu planning at all). No, also because today is Waffle Day in Sweden. One of the lovely things in Swedish culture: they make up days where you have to eat certain sweets: waffles, cinnamon buns, I’m sure there is ice cream day, too. To be able to celebrate waffle day with a like-minded crowd was in any case wonderful.
I was also going to get a lot of administrative duties done. And then I came home and the internet had stopped working. For hours. Actually, I am writing this sitting in a drafty Stackbucks café because I was forced to get into a wifi zone to get at least the most urgent stuff done. But all of this misery is not what I want to talk to you about! I want to talk about the sacrosanct Swedish tradition of fika.
The day before I left Stockholm, I was sitting in Mood Gallerian with my dear friend Marita in Café Egoiste and we were discussing whether or not there are cafés in Germany that can live up to the standard of Swedish fika culture. Marita maintained that they exist while I was rather doubtful. Swedish cafés, despite not being all alike (some are modern, others have grandma-charm, and those like Egoiste try to be French which gets kind of weird but in a nice way), reflect the atmosphere that long winters create. It’s cozy, it’s pretty and the cakes are good. It is the kind of place where you can imagine good-looking people freelancing on their MacBooks. (Not this Starbucks. I am more like a cold, supertired Sony-user.)
In Germany, I recall the country side cold bistros that are part of a bakery and really do not make you want to stay in their sterile environment. I do think though that I have not tried hard enough. Finding a German café that is as nice as a Swedish one is like finding a Swedish bakery that can compete with a German Bäckerei. Almost impossible, but only almost. And that afternoon in Café Egoiste the idea was born: this is the Repat Challenge, so I will embark on the quest to find the good fika places in Germany. Let’s see how many I will visit, at the end of this challenge present a compilation of Finding Fika so that when you come to visit, I will be able to drag you into the coziest coffee shops of the republic. Tomorrow I will introduce you to my new found favorite in Hamburg – and it has to do with Linus.